Well, this is it. We’ve made it to the end: The final episode of Lost, appropriately titled “The End,” airs tonight at 9 PM. I’ve looked back at the series’ past, but now it’s time to look at where it stands now.
Who’s left on the Island? We’re down to a slim, manageable number of characters on the Island: We have Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Desmond, Locke 2.0, Ben, Miles, and Claire. Jacob may be around for some of it, but as he said in “What They Died For,” it won’t be much longer. Sayid, Jin, and Sun died in “The Candidate.” Widmore, Zoe, and (probably) Richard died in “What They Died For.” There may be some others from Widmore’s submarine still around, and some miscellaneous Others, but I don’t think we’ll be dealing much with them in tonight’s finale.
Where do they all stand? In a move I thought they’d save for the finale, Jack was all over Jacob’s job offer in “What They Died For,” going through the whole ritual of wine-drinking and light-seeing to become the Island’s protector. The rest of the core four are still wracked with grief over the deaths of their friends. Kate’s old goal of trying to find Claire has seemingly been replaced by trying to kill Locke 2.0. Sawyer, meanwhile, was blaming himself for killing Sayid, Jin, and Sun on the sub. Hurley was just glad he didn’t get stuck with Jacob’s job.
When we last saw Desmond, he was in the well, but he wasn’t there in “What They Died For.” Ben was ostensibly working with Locke 2.0, but his motives are, as usual, opaque. Locke 2.0 has gone from simply wanting to get off the Island to wanting to destroy the Island. Miles and Claire, meanwhile, are unaccounted for. Claire was last seen with Locke 2.0 on the docks after being abandoned by the sub, but she wasn’t with the Smoke Monster last week. Miles ran into the jungle to flee Locke 2.0 in the middle of “What They Died For” and hasn’t been seen since.
What about the Sideways stories? Over in Sideways 2004, Jack was letting Claire, his newly discovered half-sister, stay in his house. He also got phone call from an official claiming to be from Oceanic reporting that his father’s coffin had been discovered. That call, however, came from Desmond, who just happens to be shepherding Kate and Sayid to (presumably) the same concert that Jack’s son is playing at. Hurley is also lending Desmond his driving ability and large sums of money for his endeavor.
After the fake phone call, Jack had a meeting with Locke, who seemed to have changed his tone about experimental surgery. Locke, a believer even in the Sideways reality, believes that Jack is meant to fix him, even though Jack once again warned him not to mistake coincidence for fate.
Locke, though, was convinced by Ben, who got a beating at the hands of Desmond, giving him flashes of the traditional reality.
So where do these stories seem to be heading? Well, the Sideways story pretty clearly is heading for a convergence at this concert. We already know that Hurley, Desmond, Kate, and Sayid will be there, along with Miles, who is attending with Charlotte. It’s conceivable that, with Miles attending, Sawyer will decide to show up (he was invited in “What They Died For”), and since Charlie and Faraday are musicians, they have reasons to be there as well. Jack, of course, promised to show up to see his son play, and he’ll likely bring Claire.
The remaining loose ends are Locke, Jin, Sun, and Ben. It’s conceivable that Locke’s connection to Jack will somehow lead him to end up at the concert, but it’s not quite clear how the other three will end up there. Jin and Sun were last seen in the hospital in “The Last Recruit,” with Sun recovering from her gunshot wound; and Ben spent most of last episode bonding with a cleaned up Rousseau over his favorite student Alex. Somehow, though, I’ll bet they end up meeting up with the rest.
So? What happens when they all get together? I’m not sure if simply being in the presence of each other all at once will be enough of a trigger to shock those who haven’t seen the other reality yet. Perhaps Desmond will have to run each of them over one by one.
If there does need to be some kind of external stimulus, it’ll be pretty interesting to see what it is. On a pretty basic level, it’s an opportunity for a great set-piece by the director Jack Bender. It also will probably echo one of the big moments of the series. Will Desmond/Charlie somehow try and use music to simulate the feeling of turbulence before the crash (it would probably require a lot of drums)? Will Faraday fashion some sort of impromptu hydrogen bomb?
More importantly, though, how exactly do the two timelines blend? And what happens to those who are dead in the other timeline—which at this point is most of them? I assume this latter point will be the crucial point on which this plot turns, but I don’t think it will be as simple as “Each of them accepts his or her fate.” I think this will ultimately be how Locke is reintegrated into the main plot.
I’ve said repeatedly now that I don’t think we’ve heard the last from Locke in the main storyline. I just don’t see how the most compelling character of the show can disappear so anticlimactically from the main narrative.
So how exactly do you see this ending? Well, here’s what I think: I think it’s clear by now that the Sideways stories are not merely “choose your own endings” or epilogues or interesting thought experiments. I think it’s pretty clear that they have a meaning of their own. And I think it’s pretty telling that pretty much all of them have provided closure, or the opportunity for a happy ending for the character.
What I’m getting at, basically, is that I don’t think these “Sideways” stories will end up seeming like Sideways stories anymore.
Here’s how I see it going down: On the Island, Sawyer, Kate, Jack, and Hurley will try to kill Locke 2.0. Knowing Kate, she’ll probably do something reckless and end up getting in danger/killed. Knowing Sawyer, he’ll probably try to save her. Ben, in an act of redemption, will turn on the Man in Black. Based on how Claire has been portrayed this season, Locke 2.0 will probably use her for some nefarious purpose. Miles will be found just long enough to say something sarcastic and funny.
All of these people will end up dead.
Some of their deaths will surely be treated individually, but this is a Lost finale, so something has to explode. We’ve already seen dynamite (three times), C4, and a hydrogen bomb. How do you top a hydrogen bomb? By blowing up something that doesn’t normally blow up—a person, in this case Desmond Hume.* Hume, after all, can withstand high doses of electromagnetism, and for some reason this makes him invaluable to destroying the Island, probably because it means he can go directly to the Light that never goes out.
*I realize this bears a similarity to Heroes and “How To Stop An Exploding Man,” but does anyone even REMEMBER that show now? Let alone compare it to Lost?
Meanwhile, Jack, as the new protector of the Island, will get a clear vision of the Sideways stories, and in it he will see that Sawyer is a successful cop, that Hurley is happy with Libby, that Desmond and Penny are together, that Jin and Sun are alive and happy, that he has a kid, that even Ben is a nice guy, etc. Basically, he will see that the Sideways universe ends up looking a lot nicer than the real one. And he will let them go.
The finale will hinge on a battle between Locke 2.0 and Jack to win Desmond over. Locke 2.0 will promise Desmond all he wants—a trip off the Island and back into the arms of Penny—if Desmond simply helps Locke 2.0 destroy the Island. Jack, on the other hand, won’t really be able to offer Desmond anything. He will ask Desmond to make a leap of faith, but if Desmond does what Jack asks, everyone will be saved. Jack will ask Desmond to go down into the Light and perform some otherwise benign act (turn a wheel, flip a switch, open a box, tear some wrapping paper, etc.), and this act will cause an explosion that kills most of the remaining Island’s inhabitants, but also moves the Island from the reality we’ve known into the Sideways reality.
Now, this will have some negative side effects. Only one version of a person can exist in a given reality (because anything else would be absurd!), so that means that Sideways Jack and Sideways Locke will have to die. But as Christian Shephard once told Locke, “I guess that’s why they call it sacrifice.” Based on how these characters have evolved this season, in both realities, it seems like both of them will willingly choose death if it means saving those they know. And the last scene will be some version of Jack and the Man in Black, once again alone on the Island, discussing “the rules.”
Oh, and Jack’s Sideways ex-wife will turn out to be Juliet, and she’ll meet Sawyer at the concert and they will fall in love and live happily ever after.
Do you really think that’s how it will play out? Almost certainly not, but do you have a better theory?
Are you excited? I don’t even know if I was this excited for the finales of The Wire or The Sopranos, two far better shows than Lost. The nature of Lost means so much is riding on how this plays out. In a few hours, all the speculation will be over.
And a few hours after that? Then I’ll be back with my last “Getting Lost” post ever.